I read the journal “IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER-CROSS CULTURAL LESSONS IN LEADERSHIP FROM PROJECT GLOBE” by JAVIDAN et.al 2006. This journal gives me new insights about how leadership important in a cross-cultural organization, especially in a global company. Here is the summary :
One of the critical success factors for large multinational corporations is global leadership. However many global leaders were not generally aware of the tremendous impact that national culture should on their vision and interpretation of the world. Every national culture values almost every aspect of human behavior, working knowledge of culture and its influences can be useful to executives working in a multicultural business environment.
The global leaders’ company needs to be specific enough to help them understand how to act in different surroundings. They need to know about the importance of cross-cultural relationship management and communication. There is a project known as the Global Leadership and Organizational Behavior Effectiveness (GLOBE) project that proposed and validated an integrated theory of the relationship between culture and societal, organizational, and leadership effectiveness.
The GLOBE collecting and analyzing data on cultural values, practices, and leadership attributes from over 17.000 managers in 62 societal cultures. The societal cultures were ranked concerning nine dimensions of their culture based on their cultural practices (the ways things are) and their cultural values (the way things should be).
Here are the nine cultural attributes (culture dimensions):
- Performance orientation
- Future orientation
- Human Orientation
- Institutional Collectivism
- In-Group Collectivism
- Gender Egalitarianism
- Power Distance
- Uncertainty Avoidance
The leadership process like management practices influenced by culture. The leader’s behavior, status, and influence vary considerably as a result of culturally unique forces in the countries or regions in which the leaders function.
According to implicit leadership theory (ILT or CLT refer to The GLOBE), individuals hold a set of beliefs about the kinds of attributes, personality characteristics, skills, and behaviors that contribute to or impede outstanding leadership. The Culture Leadership Theory variously referred to as prototypes, cognitive categories, mental models, schemas, and stereotypes. This explains the broader social cognitive literature which assumed to affect the extent to which an individual accepts and responds to others as leaders.
The culture leadership theory consists of six dimensions :
- Charismatic/Value-Based (reflects the ability to inspire, to motivate, and to expect high-performance outcomes from others based on firmly held core benefits)
- Team Oriented (indicates effective team building and implementation of common purpose or goal among team members)
- Participative (reflect the degree to which managers involve others in making and implementing decisions)
- Human Oriented (reflects supportive and considerate leadership includes compassion and generosity)
- Autonomous (independent and individualistic leadership)
- Self-Protective (focuses on ensuring the safety and security of the individual). Identifying globally desirable and undesirable leadership attributes is a critical step in effective cross-cultural leadership.
Here is the partial list of leadership attributes with the corresponding primary leadership dimension in parentheses :
- Universal facilitators of leadership Effectiveness (integrity,charismatic-visionary, charismatic-inspirational, and team builder)
- Universal Impediments to Leadership Effectiveness (Self-protective, Malevolent, and automatic)
- Cultural Contingent Endorsement of Leader Attributes (autonomous, status-conscious, and charismatic III: self-sacrificial).
Two crtitical steps
There is two-step that helps to build a positive pathway towards cultural understanding and adaptability.
- The executive needs to share information about his own as well as the host country’s culture. When people from different cultures come into contact, they usually have unstated and sometimes false or exaggerated stereotypes about the other side.
- The second is the global manager needs to think about how to bridge the gap between the two cultures. The global manager needs to tell the employees what managerial functions they are willing to change and what team functions they would like the employees to change so that the team can work from, and succeed on, common ground incorporating both cultures.
The core of global leadership is the ability to influence people who are not like the leader and come from different cultural backgrounds. To succeed, the global leader requires to have a global mindset, tolerate high levels of ambiguity, and show cultural adaptability and flexibility. Work experience and international assignment is by far the most effective source for developing global leadership capabilities.